Mystic and I escaped to the movies a week ago. Let me save you twenty bucks … skip Kevin Hart’s Laugh at My Pain. The only reason we chose it it because it had been probably a good two months since we went out, just the two of us, and movies have become one of our “things.” Well, the Dine-In Cinema at least. Not a regular movie theater. A full-on straight-up comedy routine sounded perfect, just what we needed. Yeah, well, not so much.
On the way home, we were one block away and he asked me if I wanted a frappuccino. It was only 830 pm. I wasn’t ready to go back home yet. Starbucks sounded perfect. After we ordered our drinks (that new gargantuan size that Starbucks unleashed a little bit ago is pretty perfect for Mystic), he led us to the outside tables. I’ve lived in town for 10 years now, and have only sat outside the Starbucks one other time. We watched the passers-by, the sky darken, the traffic, and talked about some of life’s great topics. (There was a picture of all that in last weekends’ round-up here)
Things which are huge to us. Both for us. And for our kids. We shared stories. Ideas. Connections. And talked about people we admire. Moments that deserve respect. That left us in awe. Both good and bad.
I can’t tell you what a high it is to have a conversation, an adult conversation. Knowing the little people at home were being taken care of. Being able to finish sentences, thoughts. I tweeted later that night, something short and simple … “Heart. Full.” And I meant it.
Mystic has many pretty awesome qualities, but one of the top three that I’m most attracted to is his ability to know what I need, sometimes before I even realize it. Whether it’s a light bulb for my refrigerator that I didn’t even realize was out or a one hour chat session lit only by the headlights of oncoming cars, he is completely there.
* * * * *
Speaking of respect, one of the stories that I shared was a part of a recent episode of Giuliana & Bill. Reality tv is one of my guilty pleasures, sue me. Giuliana threw her husband Bill a surprise birthday party to celebrate his 40th. A gathering of close friends and family led way to several toasts about Bill and his character. To hear the way they talk about him totally choked me up. One of Bill’s friend’s mentioned something he learned about Bill recently. Bill was on a flight, in First Class, and noticed a serviceman board the plane and sit in coach. At some point, he spoke to the flight attendant and said he wanted to switch seats with the serviceman, but didn’t want him to know he was doing it. He didn’t want the thanks. Or the acknowledgement. Or the tabloid story the next day. He just wanted to do it. And he did. The only reason Bill’s friend knew about what Bill had done is that he had overhead a conversation between Bill and his wife. It was a silent moment about showing respect.
It took me forever to find online clips of that part of the episode. You can watch part of Giuliana’s speech to Bill right here, and you can watch the whole episode right here:
To skip to the speeches, scroll over to minute 36 and watch from there. (There is only one pop-up on this site, just close it and all will be fine). The toasts from Bill’s friend, his sister, and Giuliana, and later his to his mom, just speak to what a stand-up, grounded, loyal guy he is and it was heartwarming to watch. To me, that’s what it’s all about.
It’s those moments of quiet character building that make my heart surge. And it’s how we endeavor to raise our children. When my kids apologize for something they’ve done, they know it’s not good enough to say “I’m sorry” unless they know what they’re apologizing for. Otherwise, it’s all just words. I want them to think, really think, about their actions. Their reactions. The consequences. And no, I don’t think these are too-big lessons for their age. It starts at the beginning. Same with character building and respect. I want them to respect me because I’ve been a good role model for them. Because they may admire a decision I’ve made. Because they might want to emulate something they’ve seen. Not because I say so.
Someone mentioned over the weekend how good Nick is with Madeline, and it’s so true. Yes, they have their moments of bickering and times when they need to be separated, but at their core? A relationship where they look out for each other. If I’m out with Madeline, and she gets something (lollipop at bank, sticker at doctor, what have you), she always, always, always asks for one for Nick. Without being prompted. Because she loves him. He will grab her hand to guide her when we’re walking. Just because. Not because I asked him to.
And those are the moments that drive it all home for me. The moments when they do the right thing, be it protection, respect, manners, completely on their own. It means that they really *are* listening, noting, taking it all in, understanding, and, best of all, putting it into action.
When I was downloading pictures last night for the Weekend Photos in Review, there was one that I downloaded to Flickr, but accidentally didn’t make it to the review. And that actually worked out perfectly, because it speaks directly to what I’ve been talking about here.
Friday afternoon, as I was getting Madeline buckled into her car seat, Nick left the car and I started to yell at him to get back into the car, until I saw what he was doing.
He went back to open the door for this elderly couple going in. Without being asked. I love that kid. And I love that deep down, he gets it. Oh, and I totally love that the couple was holding hands. That never gets old.
So to sum it up? Keep at it. Giving back. Being loyal. Showing kindness. Being respectful. The pleases. The thank yous. The yes ma’ams. The opening of doors. Delivering cookies to neighbors. A homecooked meal for a friend. The doing unto others. The smiles at strangers. And good deeds just because. Even when you don’t feel like it. It never goes out of style. Whether you’re married or single. Have kids or not. And for those that are raising kids, even when it looks like they’re not paying attention or listening or heeding, they are. I promise.